Super Bowl LV: Americans To Eat Nearly 1.5 Billion Chicken Wings, Break Previous Record

by Kayla Zadel

Chicken wings are synonymous with football and now this football fan food is etching its name in the history books (again).

Americans love chicken wings and it doesn’t get any more obvious than on Super Bowl weekend. Americans will devour a record 1.42 billion wings while watching Super Bowl LV. This figure is up 2% from last year, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual Wing Report. 

If you’re wondering why there’s an increase in this year’s consumption, well National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super says there are several reasons.

“If you think about it, restaurants like wing joints and pizza places were built around takeout and delivery, so they didn’t have to change their business model that much during the pandemic,” Super says. “Wings travel well and hold up during delivery conditions. Plus, they align with consumer desire for comfort food during the pandemic. Chicken production remained steady in 2020, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game. Don’t forget the air fryer revolution, either.”

How Do a Billion Chicken Wings Stack Up?

If you’re wondering what 1.42 billion chicken wings look like, well, here’s the breakdown.

Now, if we assume Kansas City Chief’s coach Andy Reid can eat three wings per minute, it would take him more than 900 years to eat 1.42 billion wings.

If we were to lay out all 1.42 billion chicken wings, they could circumference the Earth three-times.

And then there’s this – if 1.42 billion wings were laid end to end, they would stretch 19 times from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Additionally, chicken wings seem to be America’s favorite Super Bowl food. Check out the breakdown here.

Winging It in 2020

According to a press release, chicken wings gained popularity in 2020. Servings of chicken wings were up 70% in 2020 than in 2019 for restaurants. As a matter of fact, the purchase of wings in grocery stores totaled close to $3 billion, which is up 10.3% from a year ago. Plus the frozen variety saw an increase of 37.2%. Can anyone say air fryers?

What’s more, the “hot” wings demand is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There was a 29% reduction in November and a 24% reduction in December in year-over-year wing inventories in cold storage. So what does this mean? It means that restaurants and retailers took a lot of wings out of freezers and stocked up months in advance for the big game.

Some might say it’s “fowl play” but we say score! This “fast food” is a perfect staple for the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The National Chicken Council also surveyed Americans during the pandemic and found that the trying times didn’t keep them from their favorite food. As a matter of fact, one-quarter of the participants answered that they ate more wings during the pandemic.

Here’s a little more info from the survey. Bone-in or traditional wings are preferred to the boneless variety. Two in five Americans might say that the breast is their favorite, but wings are second. When it comes to sauces, BBQ, ranch, and buffalo/hot sauce reign supreme. Then the preferred side for the Super Bowl delicacy is actually french fries. Only 14% of people say they prefer celery.